Free English Lessons

Plural Nouns – Beginner Video Lesson

by Oli Redman on 24 November, 2016 , No comments

In this beginner lesson, you can learn about plurals in English. What are plurals? Plurals mean you are talking about more than one of something. For example: one table –> two tables. In this lesson, you can learn more about plurals and how to make them.

1. Plurals with –s

For many words in English, the plural is easy. Just add –s to the word.

For example:

  • one cat –> two cats
  • one pen –> two pens
  • one clock –> two clocks

Not difficult, right?

Now you try:

  • one ball –> two ________
  • one light –> two ________
  • one car –> two ________

Can you make the plurals? Let’s check the answers together:

  • one ball –> two balls
  • one light –> two lights
  • one car –> two cars

Did you get the right answers? This rule is simple, and it works for many words in English. But, not all words are like this.

2. Plurals with –es

Sometimes, you have to add –es to the word, not just –s.

Look at some examples:

  • one match –> two matches
  • one class –> two classes
  • one brush –> two brushes
  • one fox –> two foxes
  • one mango –> two mangoes

For these words, we add –es to make the plural. Do you know why?

It depends on the last letter or letters of the word. If a word ends with:

  • -ch
  • -s or –ss
  • -sh
  • -x
  • -o (but not ‘oo’)

We add –es to make the plural, not just –s.

Let’s practice. Look at five words. Which words need –es?

  • potato
  • girl
  • beach
  • kiss
  • cup

Three of the words need –es to make the plural. Can you see which ones?

  • Potato ends in –o, so we make the plural with –es –> potatoes
  • Girl just needs –s –> girls
  • Beach ends in –ch, so we make the plural with –es –> beaches
  • Kiss ends in –s, so we make the plural with –es –> kisses
  • Cup just needs –s –> cups

Did you get the right answers?

Let’s look at other ways to make plurals.

3. Plurals with –ves

If a word ends with –f or –fe, we sometimes change –f or –fe to –ves.

For example:

  • one shelf –> two shelves
  • one scarf –> two scarves
  • one knife –> two knives

This rule is more difficult, because we don’t always change –f to –ves. For example, we normally write roofs and not rooves.

Also, if a word ends –ff, this rule does not work! Just add –s if a word ends –ff: one cliff; two cliffs.

OK? We have one more rule to look at.

4. Plurals with –ies

Sometimes, if a word ends in –y, we change –y to –ies.

Why sometimes?

It depends on the letter before –y.

There are two kinds of letters: vowels and consonants.

The letters a, e, i, o and u are vowels.

All the other letters: b, c, d, f, g, etc. are consonants.

If a word ends in a consonant plus –y, we change –y to –ies. For example:

  • one city –> two cities
  • one baby –> two babies
  • one copy –> two copies

Remember: we only do this if the word ends with a consonant plus –y. If the word ends with a vowel plus –y, we just add –s:

  • one boy –> two boys
  • one day –> two days
  • one key –> two keys

Let’s practice. Look at four words ending –y. Which words have –ies in the plural?

  • subway
  • country
  • hobby
  • guy

Two of the words have plurals with –ies. Can you see which ones?

  • Subway ends –ay. ‘A’ is a vowel, so we just add –s –> subways
  • Country ends –ry. ‘R’ is a consonant, so we change –y to –ies –> countries
  • Hobby ends –by. ‘B’ is a consonant, so we change –y to –ies –> hobbies
  • Guy ends –uy. ‘U’ is a vowel, so we just add -s –> guys

OK, that’s the last rule, but we still have one more part.

5. Irregular Plurals

Some plurals don’t follow any rules. Look at some words:

  • one woman –> two women
  • one mouse –> two mice
  • one tooth –> two teeth

How do you know how to make these plurals? You don’t. There’s no rule. You just have to remember them.

I have some good news: there aren’t many of these irregular plurals. Here are the most important ones to know:

  • one man –> two men
  • one child –> two children
  • one fish –> two fish
  • one foot –> two feet
  • one sheep –> two sheep
  • one person –> two people

These nine words are the most common irregular plurals. There are others, but you won’t hear them often.

6. Review

Let’s practice what we’ve studied in this lesson.

Look at these words. Can you make them plural?

  • body
  • peach
  • person
  • chair
  • half

If you want to think about it, pause the video and think about your answers.

Ready? Let’s look together.

  • Body ends –dy. We need to change –y to –ies –> bodies
  • Peach ends –ch. We need to add –es –> peaches
  • Person is irregular. It changes to people
  • Chair is regular. We just add –s –> chairs
  • Half ends in –f. We need to change –f to –ves –> halves

Did you make any mistakes? Remember you can watch the video again to review the rules.

Thanks very much for watching!


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Oli RedmanPlural Nouns – Beginner Video Lesson